The 12 best substitutes for corn oil for your recipes
In the kitchen, we are all very used to using things like olive oil and vegetable oil, but some recipes explicitly call for corn oil.
Using corn oil has its pros and cons, as it is much lower in saturated fat, but does contain lots of fatty acids that increase inflammation.
So there are many reasons to want to use corn oil, but also many reasons to want to replace it with something else.
Today we are going to enumerate best substitutes for corn oil that you can use in a pinch if you’re looking for an alternative flavor, something healthier, or just run out of it.
|The best substitute for corn oil is avocado oil. Alternatively, you can also substitute canola, peanut, or safflower oil for the corn oil. Finally, in case you need something readily available, you can substitute corn oil for butter, sunflower oil, and coconut oil.
The best substitutes for corn oil
Corn has a distinctive flavor that makes it a good oil choice for all kinds of different foods, from frying, to making a salad, to baking.
But if you don’t have any on hand, will it affect things much if you replace the oil with something else?
The answer is, very little, since all the recommendations that we share today will not affect the taste much.
The main thing to keep in mind is the cooking temperature, since not all oils are suitable for extremely hot cooking, and in the flavor profile of some dishes, such as salads, you will be able to notice more of the flavor of the oil.
1. Vegetable oil
Like corn oil, vegetable oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation. So it’s not the healthiest option.
But nonetheless, vegetable oil is great for frying and will produce a nearly unnoticeable end product compared to corn oil.
It also has a high heat point of around 232°C, so you can prepare all your food piping hot without worrying about it smoking or splattering.
Its flavor is very mild, so it’s not so ideal for things where you rely on oil to saturate the flavor.
Butter is a good and always reliable cooking aid, imparting a wonderful flavor to whatever you’re cooking, and it works especially well with eggs.
Salted butter, in particular, should be used when you are trying to replace corn oil, as without it, it will end up lackluster against the more saturated flavor of corn oil.
The downside of butter is that it burns quite easily. With a cooking temperature as low as 175°C it cannot be used for all that corn oil can, which can cook much hotter with a smoke point of over 320°C.
3. Peanut oil
Peanut oil is a pleasant, natural and vegan-friendly oil that imparts a subtle but delicious flavor to whatever you cook with it.
Its high amount of monounsaturated fat makes it very good for cooking at high temperatures, making it ideal for hot frying in a way that something like butter can’t handle.
There are two types of peanut oil, unrefined and refined. Refined peanut oil has a much milder, less punchy flavor, in case that distinctive flavor isn’t appropriate for the food you’re preparing.
However, unrefined peanut oil has a rich, nutty flavor that is quite strong, and while it provides a different flavor than corn oil, it is still a great option when you are looking to use the flavor of the oil in a dish.
4. Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is known for having a fairly mild taste (not in a bad way).
This can make it a good, safe substitute for corn oil, because it won’t affect the flavor of whatever you’re cooking.
It works for hot frying thanks to its high smoke point and low saturated fat content. It’s a good substitute if your food is flavor critical and you need to fry it in something that will stand aside and not affect the flavor.
5. Canola oil
Canola oil is technically a vegetable oil that comes from a specific type of rapeseed plant.
It doesn’t taste too strong, which means you can use it in basically any situation where you would normally use corn oil. Plus, it has a fairly high smoke point, so it’s also good for frying.
Although it’s not a perfect oil in terms of nutrition, since it does contain some trans fats, it’s actually a healthier option than corn oil since it doesn’t include those inflammatory acids.
Oils can also get quite expensive at times, so luckily this one is on the more affordable side of things and quite accessible.
6. Safflower oil
Like most vegetable oils, this one comes from the plant that gives it its name, in this case, the safflower plant.
It has an exceptionally high smoke point of 266°C, making it perfect whatever type of dish you want to prepare.
Its flavor is slightly nutty, but it is not something that will overload your food, it is a safe oil!
7. Avocado oil
As its name indicates, it comes from the processing of avocados, in which machines skin, remove the stone and extract the oil from these fruits.
The avocado is well known for its plethora of health benefits, often being the fruit of choice for athletes looking to obtain only the healthiest types of natural fats.
These qualities carry over to avocado oil as well, making it one of the best options on this list.
The catch is that, just like real avocados, it is quite expensive. But as its popularity has grown, it has become more accessible and cheaper. So it’s worth keeping that in mind.
8. Grapeseed oil
Unlike other oils on this list, grapeseed oil has a distinct, slightly fruity, light flavor.
So as long as that flavor is appropriate for the type of food you’re preparing, it’s an ideal substitute.
Its high smoke point makes it good for frying, but where grapeseed oil really shines is in things like a salad, where the delicious flavor it adds is best appreciated.
9. Soybean oil
Another great option for the health conscious, with a good amount of “heart-healthy” unsaturated fatty acids, it is generally considered a healthier option than corn and olive oil.
Like most things that come from soy, it’s nice and clean and will work well in most scenarios.
10. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a bit expensive. Also, it will impart a bit of its characteristic coconut flavor to anything you fry in it, but it tastes rather bland and muted.
In fact, there aren’t many foods where coconut oil does more than enhance flavor.
So if the price is okay with you, coconut oil is one of the best.
11. Light olive oil
For some people, the high fat content of regular olive oil is undesirable. For this reason, they lean towards light olive oil, which is essentially olive oil that has been refined to remove some of those fats.
It has a fairly mild flavor, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the food you’re making. But this refining process also leaves it with a very high smoke point, making it a good substitute for corn oil.
12. Walnut oil
The process of creating walnut oil is exceptionally simple, it’s just walnuts that have been pressed to produce a golden brown oil that has a strong, yet slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
Studies have shown that some of the compounds in walnut oil are also very good for the skin.
As for cooking, it works just as well as corn oil, the only thing to consider is if that flavor difference is something you’re after.
How to Choose the Best Corn Oil Substitute
While all of the substitutes suggested here work well, depending on your cooking situation some may be more appropriate than others.
So here’s a quick rundown of which substitute might be the best given a number of criteria.
If flavor is a concern and you’re not looking to impart anything “new” to your dish, we recommend canola oil.
It’s probably as close to pure flavor as you’re going to find, and especially in dishes that specifically use oil for flavor, it works wonders.
Almost all of the oils featured today are fairly even in viscosity and shouldn’t affect anything you cook in any major way. Pick your favorite here as they are all good.
Canola oil will be the best option for the budget conscious. It is widely used throughout the world and as such is mass-produced. You should be able to find canola oil at your local grocery store for quite a bit cheaper than some of the others suggested.
If you want a substitute that is always available, butter is your best bet. It’s available everywhere, and it’s broad and nonspecialized enough that you never have a problem getting it.
Our best choice
Our pick for the best oil is avocado oil because of its many health benefits and because its flavor is mild enough that it can be used in any cooking situation where you would normally use corn oil. The difference will be almost imperceptible.